Philippine police have reportedly raided an alleged cryptocurrency scam firm that has victimized more than 1,000 Chinese nationals.
September 16, 2019, | AtoZ Markets – Philippine police — following a tip-off by the Chinese government — have uncovered what seems to be a growing cryptocurrency scam hiding behind a fledgling industry based in Pasig city in the Manila metropolis.
The local news outlet Inquirer.net, was the first to report the incidence.
273 Chinese arrested in Philippines cryptocurrency scam firm
According to the report, a coalition of the Bureau of Immigration (BI), the Philippine National Police (PNP), the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) and Integrity Monitoring and Enforcement Group (IMEG) swooped on the offices of Grapefruit Services Inc. in Pasig City on Wednesday, September 11.
In a statement, the BI Commissioner Jaime H. Morente said that the syndicates were wanted in China for defrauding more than 1,000 Chinese nationals to the tune of RMB100 million or over P700 million. He also added that the Chinese government canceled all their passports, which made them illegal workers in the Philippines.
“The operation then yielded the incidental arrest of 273 other Chinese nationals who were caught in the act of conducting illegal online operations,” Morente commented on the initial arrest without elaborating further.
The Philippine officials took a total of 277 Chinese into custody in the operation.
About Grapefruit services Inc.
Citing an anonymous source, Inquirer.net reported that Grapefruit is an authorized service provider of Golden Millennial Quickpay Inc. Ltd., operating with a license from the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA).
CEZA — a government-owned corporation — oversees the Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport, which is a special economic area in the north of the country. Also known as the Cagayan Freeport, the zone aims to attract foreign and local investment. The Philippine government began allowing cryptocurrency firms to operate there in April 2018.
Inquirer.net states that the firm was operating outside of the designated zone, and thus had run afoul of Philippine financial regulations.
In another development, AtoZMarkets reported that for yet to be known reasons, Chinese police reportedly raided ICO startup company GXChain on September 11 and arrested few executives of the company.
It is worthy of note that the Chinese government started to clamp down on cryptocurrency in 2017 after placing a blanket ban on ICOs, bitcoin, and other digital currencies. In April 2018, authorities stated that they had shut down all businesses relating to ICOs and cryptocurrency.
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